Credit: Steve Bernbach
The New York cabaret scene is not as big as it once was, but if you want to be transported to a sophisticated boîte listening to two smooth as silk singers? Have I got a place for you. Close your eyes and you can be back in a 1940’s
technicolor movie listening to wonderful music and lyrics from the past to the present. The song list includes Cole Porter, Comden and Green, Vincent Youmans, Mariah Carey and others. Tanya Holt and Marcus Simeone can carry it all, together or solo. Marcus can sing “Strange Fruit” with just a piano, followed by Tanya’s “Black Butterfly”, and you can hear a pin drop. They can just as easily handle comedy. Tonya explained how they got together. Their talented music director/piano Tracy Stark suggested they team up. However, it was difficult for all of them to get together. Hence the parody “Scheduling in New York”, sung to the tune of “Autumn in New York”, cleverly written by Bobbie Horowitz. The singers can also be playful with the audience. During one number they invited people to get up and dance. Because of the easy going mood they create, there were several lively takers. Talk about intimacy!
Besides Tracy Stark on piano, there are two other musicians; Marco Brehm on bass, and David Silliman on drums. They are all high level professionals who thankfully never overpower the singers. At times, Tonya and Marcus blend like other instruments both part of the music and yet distinctive. Tonya does most of the patter which is never in the too much category. At one point, she complimented Marcus for being a trooper and going on with the show. His mother had passed away four days before. He was a trooper who never lost focus. He was even able to keep the mood light; “now she wants me to sing”.
At the half way mark they sang “It’s Alright With Me”. With a humorous touch Marcus changed “it’s not her face” to “it’s
not HIS face”. Tanya countered with “I get it.” Then he sang “won’t you want to forget someone too?”. Her answer “yea, you”. Up to that point there had been no mention of Marcus’ homosexuality. Many duets could sustain this reality like when each sang “looking for my baby”. But in other numbers like “I Have A Love” duet, he sings “I love her”, we are asked to suspend reality. It could be interesting to see what it would look like if their reality had been carried throughout with appropriate songs.
Marcus has been a four time MAC award winner. He has also made several Cabaret Convention appearances. He is working on his fourth CD on the Miranda Music label. Tanya won the 2013 Bistro Award for Outstanding Vocalist for her highly praised “Forever Home”, seen at Urban Stages and the Metropolitan Room.
There are two remaining shows, one in December and one in January. Before we bemoan the extinction of cabaret let’s
support all this talent, you’ll be happy you did!!
“Quiet Storm” remaining performances: December 28, January 26. There is a $25.00 music charge and a two drink minimum. For reservations call 212 206 0440, or to order online visis www.metropolitanroom.com